Lower Yahara Trail Draws a Crowd

About 200 people joined Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Sunday for a ribbon cutting to open the Lower Yahara River Trail linking McFarland to the Capital City Trail and points beyond.

Here’s a description of the project provided by the county executive’s office:

Dane County Exec Joe Parisi (left facing crowd) looks on as Park Commissioner Bill Lunney speaks at the trail’s ribbon cutting.

“The Lower Yahara River Trail, an approximately 2.5-mile section of pathway along scenic Lake Waubesa, is one of the most significant trail projects Dane County has ever embarked upon. This first segment of the trail connects Lake Farm County Park, near the Capital City Bike Trail, with McDaniel Park in McFarland. The trail runs alongside a railroad trestle with a mile of continuous bridges and boardwalks on the north shore of Lake Waubesa, making it the longest multi-use boardwalk in the state of Wisconsin. An accessible fishing pier and two overlooks have also been built to heighten visitors’ overall experience.”

It’s an engineering feat and a beautiful thing in its own right, never mind what it does for cycling. But what is does for people who ride bikes is impressive. The project links McFarland to Madison, allowing commuters a safe and easy route into the city. Previously, the only practical choice was a harrowing ride along busy Hwy. 51.

The new boardwalk decking is made from recycled plastic while the railings are wood.

The project also opens up McFarland and surrounding areas southeast of Madison to the Capital City Trail, Southwest Bike Path, Badger State Trail and Military Ridge Trail. It’s now possible to bike all the way to Freeport, Illinois or Dodgeville on dedicated trail. It will mean increased use of all those trails.

The eight million dollar cost of the project was shared between federal and county funding sources. The next step is to extend the trail to Stoughton.

Our thanks to the County Executive, the County Board, the Park Commission, county staff, the Village of McFarland and the City of Madison for making this possible!

 

Just one stunning view from the boardwalk.

The boardwalk gets its first test on Sunday afternoon.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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